Process combines human centered design with agile development to deliver products grounded in customer need and supported through cycles of continuous improvement

This methodology is intended for teams designing new products for and for those migrating existing tools and content from VA websites. The framework, while not prescriptive, is a best practice model that aligns human-centered design with the development and migration process. The activities of cross-functional teams are detailed out by phase as well as specific VA stakeholder engagement points with the team.

Human Centered Design


  1. Project definition

    An outline of the project’s key components. This should include a description of the current environment.

    Learn about Project Definition

  2. Kickoff

    The kickoff meeting is conducted after completion of project definition and brings together the entire project team. It creates alignment and shared understanding of the project’s goals, scope, milestones, roles and responsibilities. It builds on the project definition phase by eliciting known business requirements, user needs and technical platform dependencies.

    Learn about Kickoff

  3. Discovery

    Discovery validates and expands upon the initial project definition. Deeper understanding is developed through design research focused on business and customer needs. Technical investigation also happens in this phase. These activities serve as the foundation for product concept exploration.

    Learn about Discovery


  1. Alpha: Design, Prototype & Plan

    iterative cycle

    Alpha kicks off the iterative design and development process. Here, insights from the discovery phase inform product and concept prototypes. These are tested with real users to validate and refine the approach.

    Learn about Alpha

  2. Beta: Iterate and Build

    iterative cycle

    Beta continues the iterative process, with increasing refinements moving toward a fully functional live product with solid back-end integration.

    Learn about Beta




  1. Pre-Flight

    The preflight check ensures critical 508 accessibility and transparency requirements have been met and that business sign-off has occurred before the product is public.

    Learn about Pre-flight

  2. Go Live

    iterative cycle

Go Live is the point at which a product is pushed to the public. Products undergo a process of continuous improvement in response to ongoing customer feedback and the addition of new capabilities.

    Learn about Go Live

  3. Sunset

Existing VA products will need to be retired after they are re-designed and brought into the platform. Care should be taken to communicate these changes to users and to help them transition as needed.

    Learn about Sunset

  4. Operations and Maintenance (O&M)

    iterative cycle

Operations and maintenance is the process through which a live product is sustained and enhanced. It includes maintenance cycles and continuous improvement along with a defined workflow to support changes and ongoing requirements.

    Learn about Operations and Maintenance